By Cecil G. Brumley
In the psychology of the economy, consumer confidence reigns supreme.
But it's not just what's in your wallet that affects your confidence; it's also what you see. When you see a lot of vacant stores and other buildings, you can't help but wonder about the security of your financial situation. So empty buildings getting used again is like a salve to your sore eyes.
It's difficult to get a full handle on the number of empty buildings going back into use compared to newly empty buildings, but it appears there has been some improvement, especially at some heavily traveled intersections.
A good example is the vacant convenience store/gas station as Madeline Avenue and Nova Road in Port Orange. Southeast Petro of Cocoa bought the property for $700,000 and a spokesman said it will reopen as a BP in a few weeks. Just 12 years old, when a property that new sits empty for awhile, it really makes you wonder about the state of the economy.
But even better, although it hasn't sat vacant long, the old Walmart at New Smyrna Beach Regional Shopping Center is getting redeveloped. GC Development of Mount Dora has bought the property for $3.875 million and plans to redevelop it into a four-unit center. There are already plans for Big Lots and Bealls stores there. Haven't quite gotten it cleared up yet whether Bealls plans to move its department store there from Third Avenue, move its Bealls Outlet store there from elsewhere in the shopping center or it's a new store. I should be able to update that by next week.
There also are small improvements, such as Charming Charlie going into International Speedway Square in the spot left vacant when Old Navy downsized two years ago.
Already putting together a new plan for its property across West International Speedway Boulevard from Daytona International Speedway, International Speedway Corp. is now seeking rezoning for the area around the Speedway. ISC wants a mixed-used zoning so it could develop the land for hotels, restaurants or other businesses. It's probably safe to say that ISC would love to have the option of building a casino next to the track like the one it now has in Kansas City, Kan. Of course, it would require state government approval for any expansion of gambling.
It still doesn't seem like there are enough new jobs getting created to put a big dent in unemployment, but it was good to see AO Precision and Playtex Manufacturing (Hawaiian Tropic) posting a large number of manufacturing job openings. For prospective moonlighters, Macy's has already begun hiring for the holidays.
The dollar stores continue to hit the news with Dollar General planning to add a store to north Deltona. It already had started the permitting process for one in west Deltona. Also, the Dollar General property in DeLeon Springs recently sold for $1.24 million. Not to be forgotten, Family Dollar Stores is planning a location in DeBary.
Next up for The Pavilion at Port Orange probably will be a Firestone auto care center directly on Williamson Boulevard. It's between the entrance that goes to Marshalls and the other stores in the big strip, and the entrance to US Foodservice. Another car care place, Boulevard Tire at Bellevue Avenue and Nova Road in Daytona Beach, is expanding.
On the restaurant beat, Maria Bonita's in Ormond Beach has finally opened. It took awhile, but with so much anticipation, it will be packed with patrons for awhile. Just across the railroad tracks from there, construction is starting on a Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches. The center where Red Lobster is located in Daytona Beach Shores has been redeveloped, and now the Denny's has reopened and the center has a Dairy Queen.
New Church Family, a Christian congregation, has bought the headquarters of the Volusia Building Industry Association for $287,500. The church is moving there from a storefront at 815 Beville Road, South Daytona, and will have its first service there Sunday, Sept. 2. Chris Butera of NAI Realvest represented the seller and Sue Turnbull of Swann and Associates represented the church in the transaction.
An Apopka investor has bought several commercial and multi-family properties at Browning Avenue and Boynton Boulevard in Daytona Beach Shores for $1.95 million.
A Winter Park manufactured homes seller has bought a big chunk of land at West State Road 44 and Glencoe Road in New Smyrna Beach, paying $1.5 million.
Cecil G. Brumley has been tracking business trends in Volusia County for more than 15 years. You can contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cecilbrumley.